Super Bowl Sunday has nearly as many drunk drivers as New Year's Eve, officials say

There are an average of 3.7 DWI arrests an hour on Super Bowl Sunday.
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Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most dangerous times to be on the roads in Minnesota.

Why? Because there are a lot of drunk drivers, the state Department of Public Safety says.

Every year, about 164 people are arrested for driving drunk on Super Bowl Sunday. That averages out to about 3.7 arrests per hour, which is similar to the number of DWI arrests officials make on other popular drinking holidays, like New Year's Eve (3.9 per hour) and Thanksgiving (3.7 per hour).

"Some people may think a beer or two or three is not that big of a deal, and we're the fun police here to squash anybody's good time this weekend. But we're not. We're not against driving. We're not against drinking. But what we are against is drinking and driving," Lt. Robert Zak of the Minnesota State Patrol said at a news conference Thursday.

Officials are encouraging people who plan on celebrating the big game with a few drinks to plan a sober ride home.

"The effects of a few drinks can really sneak up on you ... and you may also lose track of how much you're actually drinking," Donna Berger, the director of the Office of Traffic Safety, said at the news conference.

Officials also warned of another illegal activity that's pretty popular on Super Bowl Sunday – gambling. The American Gaming Association says people bet $4.7 billion on the Super Bowl this year, and 97 percent of those bets are placed illegally. That's because Nevada is the only state that's permitted to offer traditional sports betting.

The only way an establishment can offer game squares or other sports betting legally in Minnesota is if it's free for everyone, the Minnesota Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division says.

You can read more about Minnesota's gambling laws here.

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